Top Strategies for Getting the Parking Spot You Want at the Mall

Ready for Black Friday? CarInsurance.com's survey reveals popular parking strategies and the most frequent scuffles.

Top Strategies for Getting the Parking Spot You Want at the Mall Photo (cc) by dno1967b

This post comes from Jeffrey Steele at partner site CarInsurance.com.

Finding the perfect present at a great price may make you feel merry and bright, but scoring a parking spot during the holiday shopping season more likely brings out your inner vulture, stalker or thief, according to CarInsurance.com’s parking lot personalities survey.

We asked 2,000 drivers which parking spaces they prefer in a crowded lot during the holiday season, what strategy they use to park in crowded lots, what’s gone wrong and what they do during parking lot confrontations.

The survey reveals the most popular strategies for getting a desirable parking spot are:

  • The vulture. You circle the lot at least twice before deciding where to park (picked by 38 percent).
  • The stalker. You follow people with bags or shopping carts and wait for them to load and leave (24 percent).
  • The quitter. You leave if the parking lot is crowded and has few open spaces (10 percent).
  • The thief. You’ll cut someone off to get their spot (3 percent).
  • The sherpa. You’ll straddle your car on top of snow banks to fit in spaces others won’t dare to use (3 percent).
  • Other — 23 percent.

These strategies for finding a spot didn’t vary significantly by gender. However, when it comes to getting into the parking spot, men were more likely to get creative.

  • Average Joe. You just try to get between the lines — 65 percent (women, 73 percent; men, 58 percent).
  • The planner. Parks only in spaces where the car can face out because it’s much easier to pull out than back out — 20 percent (women, 19 percent; men, 21 percent).
  • The perfectionist. No fewer than five moves to get into the space; it takes a long time to get it just right — 6 percent (women, 4 percent; men, 8 percent).
  • The homecoming queen/king. You park at an angle over two spaces — 4 percent (women, 2 percent; men, 7 percent).
  • The optimist. Even though there’s not enough room to open your car door, you squeezed in there anyway — 4 percent (women, 2 percent; men, 6 percent).

Ivan Drury, senior analyst with Edmunds.com in Santa Monica, Calif., says holiday stress amps up tension and leads to curmudgeonly behavior in parking lots. “You have the holiday multiplier of high stress, limited time and conflicting interests, depending on who is in the vehicle with you. You’re under the gun to get things done and make everything happen all at the same time,” he says.

“The holiday spirit goes out the door — people see a parking spot and go for it,” Drury adds. “Or you see a shopper walking out with all their packages and hope they don’t put all the packages in the car and head back to the store, in which case you explode. If that parking spot disappears, you’ll have to drive around for another five or 10 minutes in the parking lot.”

Most coveted parking spots, most frequent calamities

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